24 January, 2021

Blog

The Anglican Church Annual Diocesan Council: A Jaffna Perspective

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Disruptions of the Mass by COVID

For some time now the obligatory Sunday Mass had been suspended because of COVID-19. Christians have been under some restrictions. First services were totally disallowed. Then, while those in Colombo were allowed services with 25 communicants, in Jaffna the PHIs restricted it to 5. Then two Sundays ago, at St. James’ Nallur, the Vicar, The Rev. Fr. Stephen Jebachelvan, said “Come what may, we will start with 5 communicants.” Hearing about it, last Sunday (6th) he had to hold two services. Next Sunday (13th) it is expected to be more to cater to the demand ignored by the Church.

Disruption of Council

While the regularity of the Mass is from the Bible, of lesser order is the Diocesan Constitution that demands that the annual conclave (the Diocesan Council) should be during July and October is a demand of the Diocesan Constitution. It was disturbed by the retirement of the former Bishop Dhilo Canagasabey. The election for his replacement was held on 15 Aug. although there was good reason for holding it earlier. DV, nothing will stop the new Bishop’s attending the prestigious diennial Lambeth Conference originally scheduled for 2018, and then 2020 but now postponed to 27th July – 8th August 2022. 

Questions on Consecration

The Consecration and Enthronement of the Bishop-Elect, Rev. Fr. Dushantha Rodrigo, was delayed. The constitutional requirement that three “Bishops” should lay hands needs clarification. Only 2 Diocesan Bishops and other retired Bishops really laid hands. While a Bishop is always a Bishop even after retirement, the constitution defines Diocesan Bishops but not “Bishops.” The doubt could have been solved by inviting the Diocesan Bishop The Rev. Dr. Daniel Thiagarajah of Jaffna of the [Anglican] Church of South India, but that seems to have been avoided for political reasons. Instead there were diocesan bishops from abroad waving their hands on a computer screen via Zoom rather than laying on hands. The solution raises more question than it answered. We appear to have a new Bishop anyway, with the Archbishop of Canterbury signing the relevant instrument. In our “intellectual church,” these are not discussed. 

Mass on Zoom

The Council meeting to be chaired by the new Bishop, now The Rt. Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo, did not have health authority permission because it involves about 300 delegates. So we had a meeting in 16 locations, going Rural Deanery by Rural Deanery with two venues for the larger ones. It will be on Zoom they announced making it unclear if the Bishop crossing the host and wine in Colombo will invoke the presence of Christ in the elements in Jaffna. In the end it was separate masses, each presided by a priest.

Jaffna Rural Deanery

Unlike the normal 3-day conclave, 11 December’s, was for a day only. Each Rural Deanery was allowed only 2 speakers on resolutions. This time there is  only one resolution on giving us an opportunity to revise our constitution. I had been nominated by the Jaffna Rural Deanery to summarize our discussions on Friday 4th. Here is my prepared text for my allotted 5 minutes.

Text of Speech

May it please Your Lordship: I speak on behalf of the Jaffna Deanery to summarise our meeting last Friday on the Resolutions by Fathers Selvan and Sathivel.

The “Aye” Argument

Already dealt with by the proposer, their argument is that we have already seen problems in the constitution of Dec. 2007and call for making it current. It is only in English and awaits translation.  I say this lapse is because of lack of capacity in the Church in translation. Most of us cannot understand its archaic English and will need translations if we really want a discussion beyond the minority English-speakers. Principally three faults are alleged:

1. In the election of bishop, the process is alleged to be a disgrace. Until the day of election we pretend we do not know who the candidates are and as a result allowed one of them to send out letters of invitation for the election. But there was a lot of campaigning. This slanted the election. The senior-most archdeacon did not chair as constitutionally required. The system allowed only one day for nomination, debate, and voting. The proposers want a simple majority to determine who is elected. 

2. The role of clergy in Christ-centered Service needs to be investigated and brought into the constitution with mandates. The rules for the Sabbath and lay-workers must be adequately addressed.

3. A periodic review of the constitution is not provided for. A committee should be appointed and mandated to perform this review, and that review should be brought to the Diocesan Council in 2022.

The “Nay” Argument

The “Nay” argument is that the mature American constitution, ratified in June 1788, has only seen 27 amendments over its 232 years. Sri Lanka’s constitution, however, from 1978, has had 20 amendments in its 42 years.  It is said to be a periodical. I think as a people we do not keep to our work commitments and rush changes. That is why we cannot get things right at one go. We will fix one problem and create another. Assignments of such importance must go to the competent and not be used to give exposure to favorites.

The Church and the Rule of Law

Why a revision when we do not read our constitution and stray often from it? Consider:

1. Two and half years ago, we passed a resolution on the Tamil eucharistic liturgy. It called for an immediate stop to praying to God as “God without holiness.” We continue to do that even though the then Bishop assented to the resolution. We Tamils still have a liturgy where god is not almighty, and Christ is not “The Most High in the Glory of God the Father.” We have nine commandments not ten. And most of us do not even notice this. The constitution requires the implementation of that near-unanimous resolution. But it has not been done. It is a most severe indictment on the intellectual capacity of our “intellectual church” that we cannot implement obvious mistakes even when they are spoon-fed in writing. Finish what is on our plate before taking on new projects. Picking favorites ignoring capacity is what led to a prayerbook with spelling, grammar and thought mistakes. The CMS Board for Schools, last I looked, had non-degreed housewives and a chairman calling himself doctor with an honourary degree. The advertisement for Principal of CMS St. John’s College had 7 grammar mistakes. No wonder our schools are failing. Tap the national university graduates among clergy for cerebral tasks, not socialites.

2. I am a dual US-Sri Lanka citizen. The Sri Lankan constitution never precluded my serving on the Election Commission. An archdeacon tweeted on twitter like Donald Trump that I was unlawfully functioning on the Election Commission. It hurt me professionally. So, I filed a written complaint with the then Bishop. No response as mandated by the Constitution.

3. We had a Registrar,  Chanaka de Silva, PC, who would unlawfully rule any proposed resolution he did not like as unlawful. He killed a proposed resolution against a new diocese ruling that it “is detrimental to the fellowship and unity of the body of Christ.” He left, thankfully, on the very day Your Lordship was consecrated.

4. No one received notice for this meeting in time to meet the constitutional 60 days for processing our resolutions by the Church. I am surprised that this resolution somehow was “in time” to be on the agenda. All of us need equal treatment.

So why revise a constitution that is not consulted and is only a tool to suppress dissent and to promote favorites who can commit any sin and rise in the church without constitutionally required disciplinary action? Do we have the capacity to word-craft and make quality changes? Obviously, we lacked that capacity in 2007 for us to need changes so soon. See what has happened to our orphaned Tamil Liturgy!

Allowing our constitution to become a periodical will lead to meddling with our faith. Remember,  one of our diocesan bishops wished a dead Buddhist monk in The Ceylon Churchman as follows: “May he attain Nibbana.” Obviously that Bishop did not believe in the Christian resurrection if he meant the best blessing upon that monk’s soul. What will people without faith do to our faith if allowed to rewrite our constitution?

According to a 2017 PEW survey on Social Attitudes of Christians, 60% accept some New Age beliefs including 47% of Evangelical Protestants and 70% of Roman Catholics. Recall St. Matthew 7: 22ff about those of us who will cry Lord, Lord on that day and our Lord will respond  “I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers,” That is, we may be priests and church-goers but our faith? Is faith a factor in our appointments?

Barna Research: Declining Christianity in America (45% to 25% from 2000 to 2020). Will Sri Lanka Follow?

Trump and the Evangelical Conscience

Today Donald Trump inspires Christians in America’s Bible belt. But according to the book The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, the morality of the Bible is highly compromised even among ultra-conservative Christians. For example, Southern Baptists (of whom 85% say the Bible should be taken literally, and stress evangelization and missionary work) show the highest sexual disobedience. According to census data. Americans living together out of wedlock jumped from 1990 to now by 72%, but in the Bible Belt in Oklahoma it was 97%, in Arkansas 125%, and in Tennessee 123%. The divorce rate there is “roughly 50% above the national average.” No wonder they vote for Trump!

The Jesus People

Research, based on a Time 1971 cover story and a University of Milwaukee  thesis, shows that para-churches like Campus Crusade for Christ, Inter-Varsity Fellowship, and Youth for Christ have had their origins in the hippie movement in America (in Mill Valley Baptist Church behind my daughter’s house in Oakland, CA). They are now mainstreamed in our high Committees (like the Jesus People and Born-Agains who joined mainline churches in America) and will soon author our faith and formularies as they already are.

“What is the point?,” some of you may ask. It is this. In these matters we are just  a generation behind the West. These eccentric things from the hippies are surely coming to us. We already have bishops believing in nirvana. A former Roman Catholic priest is now singing Hare Krishna sons at Christ Church Dehiwela. Priests stealing, and into adultery are rising in the church hierarchy. These are the priests who speak English and will lead constitutional revisions. Would they tinker with our constitution and incorporate their hippie and multi-god faith and multi-partner lifestyles into our faith and formularies? It has already happened with dethroning “Almighty God” and refusing to correct it.

I am not against this resolution. I am only afraid of the damage it can do, if we do not first consider competence and faith in our appointments. Till then, any constitutional changes would be disconcerting to the faithful.

Thank you, My Lord.

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Latest comments

  • 25
    1

    Reading this article just freaked me out. What has all these technical trivialities, and personal trifles got to do with religion – let alone spirituality? Even with the Coronavirus COVID-19 threatening to wipe out life from this miserable planet, people are still not able to put things in perspective … Jesus Christ. What more evidence is needed to realize quibbling, hairsplitting, petty-minded pedants like these couldn’t have been the creation of a perfect, merciful and loving God, but rather the random tentative life forms thrown up by natural selection?

  • 11
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    Dr. Hoole,

    Your critique of Evangelical Christians in the U.S. leaves out a lot.
    Though southern Evangelicals are among the most ardent Trump supporters, Trump got a lot of support from Catholics and mainline Protestants as well. What has happened is not merely a moral crisis, but people have become highly irrational, losing any sense of truth vs. lie, fact vs. fiction, focusing emotionally on their tribal allegiance to race, party, etc.

    For nearly 30 years, I have questioned the foundational falsehoods in America. The Trump era simply brought it all out in full view, loudly and clearly, everything that had always been there, hidden and dormant — the irrationality, hypocrisy, racism, etc. Thankfully, there are still some checks and balances, as the judiciary showed. Trump team has lost 59 of its 60 election-related cases in trying to subvert the results of the election. So the West is still more livable than many countries in Asia.

    Trumpism will eventually recede, but the underlying societal sickness is not going anywhere. The answer lies in promoting reason, with the same personal morality that societies mistakenly assume to have come from religions ( it is culture, not religion). Faith often leads to hypocrisy, which in turn leads to a comfort level with immorality.

    • 10
      2

      Agnos,
      “simply brought it all out in full view, loudly and clearly, everything that had always been there, hidden and dormant — the irrationality, hypocrisy, racism, etc.”
      This could apply just as well in Sri Lanka. Very sad.

    • 8
      0

      Dear Agnos.
      I cannot but fully agree on your point:
      …………”What has happened is not merely a moral crisis, but people have become highly irrational, losing any sense of truth vs. lie, fact vs. fiction, focusing emotionally on their tribal allegiance to race, party, etc.”
      And I might add ‘religion’ to that list. And in all these these areas, some take self-righteous stands, even calling others who disagree with degrading words like idiot and other strong words.
      ……….”Thankfully, there are still some checks and balances, as the judiciary showed.”
      Well here it is the other way round with ALL CHECKS AND BALANCES cast aside and as in a local film of that name – it is ONE SHOT now.

  • 10
    1

    Just to add a rider to Agnos’s comment.
    —–
    An interesting book by sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild (wife of writer Adam H.) delves into the origins of the far right Tea Party, in the southern US states. She tries to discover what she calls “the deep story” behind what seems to be totally irrational support for big industry, anti-enviromental policies, etc., which have caused such havoc, to the inhabitants of Louisiana, for instance — pollution, flooding, massive destruction.
    —-
    Hochschild tries to “understand” this irrationalism, to shed her own “progressive” opinions. I am not sure that she completely succeeds in this but she concludes that “empathy” is the best way to tackle divisive beliefs. The book is a fascinating study for those of us who are appalled by the prevalence of evangelical believers in the U.S. and apparently huge support for Trump.
    ——-
    Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild, 2016.

    • 3
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      You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that “empathy” is the best way to tackle divisive beliefs.

      We have to respect the beliefs of others however one doesn’t have to change one’s beliefs just to please someone else.

      What one believes to be progressive could be seen as folly by others.
      The so people who like to call themselves progressives should be humble enough the accept this.

      Humbleness is the beginning of empathy …..

      • 3
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        empathy and empathy alone empathy is the key to a democracy, it is the key to socialism, without empathy, we will be living in a world of dictatorship and communism where ethnic minorities are trampled and squashed.

      • 1
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        Whimpy Kid
        Re your “one doesn’t have to change one’s beliefs just to please someone else,” I should have written “suspend” (i.e. temporarily) and not “shed”. Careless, that.
        —-
        And as for the use of “progressive” please note that I put it in inverted commas deliberately.

    • 8
      2

      The main point in placing an article like this in the mostly non-Christian public domain is to check the Church itself. The Anglican Church commands prestige mainly because of its past and present contribution to education and because a significant number of its members occupied responsible positions.

      If a senior member of the Church says that many of its professions are simply farcical, it is a challenge for the Church to answer. If doctrinal statements have been crucially mistranslated into Tamil, and supposedly educated priests have been obliged to recite these Sunday after Sunday for a dozen years, it is worse than negligence.

      When the Alternative Service Book came out in England in the early 1980s, there was a public debate about it, criticisms were made about its going soft on sin, and many chose to stay with the 1662 Prayer Book. Here, to my knowledge, it has been a matter of a few amateurs sitting around and composing Prayer Books without reference to tradition. Traditions go back more than 3000 years, and are not meant to be followed literally; but are meant to be treated with respect, as Christ discerningly did. The public has the right to know what the Church stands for and if it means what it says.

      • 1
        0

        When I first read this article, the comments by Ajay and Agnos were already visible, and I tended to agree that it is a strange article, based on a speech by Professor Jeevan Hoole, to have on this site.
        .
        Here we have the elder brother of Professor Hoole, Dr Rajan Hoole, convincing us that there is justification for bringing to our notice how the Anglican Church is faring. Their father and their maternal grandfather were both learned and conscientious priests; they contributed much to Ceylon, as we then were.
        .
        Furthermore, all Sri Lankans owe a great deal to this generation of Hooles, and to these two brothers in particular, who, while being quite different from one another, are both absolutely sincere, honest, and courageous men. Whatever else I have to say, I shall place at the end of the comments.

    • 4
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      Dear MF
      This the same attitude I have tried to push in all my comments – thank you.
      Empathy entails inclusivity while exclusivity makes one intolerant of “the other” , – whatever that you are not or of your way of thinking.

      • 0
        2

        Ferryman,
        Is that why you complain to CT to remove the people labeled by you as self-righteous and in your opinion exclusive people? Could you explain me for your motive to influence the people’s opinion. You are better Buddha than the Sinhala Buddhist Buddha?

        • 3
          0

          ……… “Could you EXPLAIN TO ME for (sic) your motive to influence the people’s opinion”……………
          Can anyone realise the absurdity of the above statement, leaving aside the arrogance, of course. In fact I am at a loss to respond to it but say : Why does anyone express an opinion (including the questioner) except for others to take it or leave it civilly, and not to vituperate with ….” You are better Buddha than the Sinhala Buddhist Buddha?”………….and which has no relevance in context.
          Except of course to refer to that term : name-calling.
          I advise myself : Do not feel pressured to respond right away. Be kind to yourself. Acknowledge your hurt, remind yourself that you are not alone, and do not buy into the name-calling. Tell yourself kind and loving things, and take good care of yourself.
          May be as SJ advised (thank you SJ) in some situations, Silence is Golden.

          • 2
            0

            PS:
            ….CT to remove the people ……..
            Certainly NOT, I am not Gotler.
            ..Only such comments, as are vile, not “people” as CT does not undertake such contracts.

            • 0
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              You wanted to be Sinhala Buddhist. You backtracked. You asked CT to edit and remove my comments as per your wish. You back tracing. You called me, without naming, I am trying to be self-righteous person. You try to reverse it. You said Tamils should give up the call for international investigation. They should give up the call for Federal Solution. Read back all your comments. Only it is in your words. Further, you never answer to suspicions and clarify your position properly, but twist within that.
              Your civility appears to be, if the child is protesting, keep it tied and feed poison in the color of milk, then it will relent. It sounds like real dishonest talk. Is that right? Otherwise why are you so enthusiastic about commenting to others comments but not for the essays?
              You listen to your consultant but everybody knows what every others’ background is & where are they coming from.
              Just because somebody is anti-American Tamils will not give up their right for International Investigation. That is Tamils’ rights. UN and other international bodies are only for that. Royal Family must go to Hague and face the trial there. That is the first thing Tamils want. Not Unitary Sinhala Buddhist constitution! Period!

          • 0
            0

            ” May be as SJ advised (thank you SJ) in some situations, Silence is Golden. “
            I replied to this, but you are repeating. Is that because you are a Goebbels’ follower? Or like all others backtracking you are just ignoring what you wrote earlier and the reply to that too? ?

  • 3
    0

    You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that “empathy” is the best way to tackle divisive beliefs.

    We have to respect the beliefs of others however one doesn’t have to change one’s beliefs just to please someone else.

    What one believes to be progressive could be seen as folly by others.
    So people who like to call themselves progressives should be humble enough to accept this.

    Humbleness is the beginning of empathy …..

    • 2
      0

      ….”We have to respect the beliefs of others”……………….
      Is this practised in the CT comments ?

      • 4
        1

        At least realise “Humbleness is the beginning of empathy …..” in the CT comments instead of vituperation.
        Of course there are many who have made very valuable comments very civilly and needs our appreciation.

  • 1
    0

    Empathy is not sympathy; it is not pity.

    It is an emotional skill, to stand on other man’s shoes and look at the issue from the other man’s perspective.

    One should not judge others from their own perspectives, from your standpoint. A skill that leads to understand others from their standpoint, not from your view.

    Then it will be for instant,easier for Tamil nationalists to understand Sinhala Buddhist nationalism and vice versa.

    If both groups understand each other accurately, then a peaceful solution of the problem is easier.

    • 4
      0

      Dear Srikrish,
      Very true.
      …”One should not judge others from their own perspectives, from your standpoint.”….
      …One should not judge others from ‘ones’ own perspectives, from ones’ standpoint……
      This was what I said was self righteousness. But it is doubly worse when you call “names” at the end or beginning of your view point. Anyone if free to express a viewpoint but not condemn/judge others.
      Thank you. Sri.

  • 3
    0

    The discussions on “empathy” will not be complete unless and until we make peace with CT columnists such as Eagle Eye, Soma, S. C. Pasqual and other Sinhala Buddhists and their counterparts among Tamil nationalists.

  • 5
    0

    PS:
    ….CT to “remove” the people ……..!!!
    Certainly NOT, I am not Gotler to say that.
    ..Only remove such comments, that are vile, not “people” – as CT does not undertake such “contracts.”

    • 0
      0

      Which comments? May I see the formula you use to suppress free expression? Have any expedience working as editor to give free consulting to CT? May I know what basis you are issuing your recommendation?

  • 3
    0

    Jesus was and is not Judgemental He gives an opportunity for anyone and everyone to repent and change for the better.

    That is why He said ” my yoke is not heavy or burdensome” when we turned to Him he helps us to overcome sin.

    This is the good news that is offered by Jesus Christ especially this Christmas as we hope and pray for a better tomorrow.

  • 0
    0

    PART ONE
    .
    The Anglican Church has fallen on hard times. Not really in terms of finances, because its current membership of 24,000 constitutes a relatively affluent group. Membership is dwindling, and if somebody is able to define who an Anglican is, it may be much lower. There is a great deal of misunderstanding on this point; relative to numbers, the Church owns a great deal of real estate, and many devout members pay their tithes until it hurts. However, this does not mean that they can shore up the standard of living of twenty-two million Sri Lankans by distributing the “Wealth of the Church.” These Hoole brothers live quite frugal lives themselves.
    .
    The poverty of the Church is in terms of “anything goes”, and some members of the Church (including some clergy), using the resources of the Church for their own benefit. This statement is true of all organised religious groups the world over. Dr Rajan Hoole is not particularly a believer in organised religion. However, his activism in what may broadly be called Humanity is founded on his personal spiritual life, which is essentially Christian. Our friendship dates back to 1963.

  • 0
    0

    PART TWO
    .
    Rajan also knows what Anglicanism is about.
    I had thought that the Book of Common Prayer stemmed from 1549. He says 1662, after the Puritan interregnum. We’re both right – he more than me!
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Common_Prayer
    .
    Ask the average priest today, he’d be lost!
    .
    Professor Jeevan Hoole is much more a committed member of the Anglican Church. Sociologically, I have always been classified as an Anglican, but since my late teens, I’ve been agnostic. One man who bluntly tells me that this is unsatisfactory is Professor Jeevan Hoole, whom I have got to know relatively recently. However, he has always been fair by me, and kindly.
    .
    All Sri Lankans know the tremendous courage that Jeevan has displayed in public affairs. His honesty is total, and he is therefore in a position to point out the shortcomings of the Church. Pointing out these shortcomings is not my business – except to the extent that this impinges on the affairs of Sri Lanka as a whole. I shall say no more today. I hope that some others will tell us what they know; thereafter, it may be that I shall comment further.

  • 0
    0

    Today is Saturday. It appears that a “meeting between the Prime Minister and the Bishop of Colombo was held at the Bishop’s Office on Thursday evening.”
    .
    I remember that towards the end of Prof. Hoole’s period in the elections Commission, he and Nalin Abeysekera had refused to attend when summoned to MaRa’s residence – Temple Trees.

    Professor G.L Peiris had also been present. They had apparently discussed Christmas Services in the context of the COVID pandemic, Anglican Schools, and also more abstruse subjects like the Constitution for the country.
    .
    In that context, would it be too much to ask the Bishop to ensure that all affairs relating to the Anglican Church also be conducted in keeping with the Rules and Regulations operating within it?
    .
    I shall give a link to the news item separately, since I seem to get edited out for providing such links.

  • 0
    0

    The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Anglican Bishop of Colombo is reported here:
    .
    http://www.dailynews.lk/2020/12/19/local/236577/focus-celebrating-christmas-following-health-guidelines

  • 0
    0

    PART ONE
    .

    The author of this article, Professor Jeevan Hoole, attaches great importance to Christianity as found in the Bible, and as exemplified by the practice of the Church down the centuries. I consider him a sincere friend, but one who is frank enough to tell me that he finds my faith inadequate.
    .
    When I first told him how Church politics involved scheming, fixing, and downright cheating he couldn’t bring himself to believe that then-Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey could have been guilty of such. I had already published this article:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/belief-in-the-worth-of-teachers-at-s-thomas-colleges/#comments
    .
    He asked me to promise that I’d do nothing more until such time as he would arrange for me to meet the Bishop and bring about better understanding with him. One condition he imposed upon me; that I keep all this private. Now almost five years later, I have yet to properly meet a Bishop of Colombo. On two occasions I had made myself present in places he was visiting, but on both occasions, after the formalities were over, when I tried to engage him in conversation, he said that he had no time.

  • 0
    0

    PART TWO
    .
    I have called his office, and his personal mobile phone umpteen times when I felt that he would be free, but to no avail. He once called me, earlier this year, told me things, and refused to hear me at all.
    .
    Canagasabey had told Hoole that he did not want to meet me because I had called into question his integrity. Hoole faulted me then; I don’t think that he will now. Let me emphasise that I have known Canagasabey for decades, and had many long discussions with him; his parents-in-law I knew well fifty years ago.
    .
    But as Bishop, he was cheating when it came to electing two Board of Governors Members for the Branch Schools of S. Thomas. I have written five articles in all on the subject – relating to Elections in 2016 and 2020. You will be able to navigate back from the last article:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/challenging-three-cheating-thomian-pharisees-and-not-doing-it-from-behind/
    .
    You will find that I have been called names by various persons, but not once has there been any countering of what I have said.

  • 0
    0

    PART THREE
    .
    Now, the fact that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education have actually visited the new Bishop in the Bishop’s Office, it is clear that the Anglican Church is being treated with greater respect b y the country.
    .
    I have been a teacher all my life, and commanded sufficient respect from the Thomian Establishment for the full fifteen-member Board to have interviewed me to be the Warden of S. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia. Please check on the veracity of that statement with Professor G.L. Peiris and with Mr Rajan Asirwatham, who were both present at last week’s meeting that has been reported in The Daily News.
    .
    I was then not selected because having acknowledged that I had been baptised and confirmed in the Anglican Church, I said that I had doubts about many things that had to be recited in the Nicene Creed, Sunday after Sunday. I said that I knew that the College was an Anglican school, and that as such, I would have to keep doubts to myself and be a “Practising Christian”.

  • 0
    0

    PART FOUR
    .
    One lay Board Member had objected – and continued to object to me heading a school – for the next twenty years. However, he suddenly became my friend in April 2012, and has subsequently apologised to me, so he shall remain unnamed – and genuinely forgiven many years ago.
    .
    One other layman, Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole, says that he finds me a decent man, and a relatively recent friend, but he thinks that had he been on that Board, he too, would have rejected me – since greater faith is required.
    .
    As for the then Bishop – he was a saintly man, Rt Rev Jabez Gnanapragasam. Subsequent to that interview, we had a long meeting, and I received his unqualified imprimatur.
    .
    I have no problem with Professor Hoole’s eccentricities; I find that he is absolutely honest, truthful and bold in his pursuit of what he thinks is right. I ask no more from a human being.
    .
    What happened after that fateful year-1990 interview? They appointed no permanent Head for about seven years, then appointed a man whom I have never met, but said to be an upright person – Mr Eksith Fernando.

  • 0
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    PART FIVE
    .
    Alas, the Supreme Court held that he was unqualified.
    .
    https://www.lawnet.gov.lk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/009-SLLR-SLLR-2000-V-1-EKSITH-FERNANDO-v.-MANAWADU-AND-OTHERS-ST.-THOMAS-COLLEGE-CASES.pdf
    .
    Read it; the judgement written in beautiful English by Justice Dheeraratne.
    .
    Sad, but a gentlemanly way to resolve such an issue. I have just now downloaded the link, and two other sites have it.
    .
    Our main task right now is to overcome this COVID problem. I feel that the way out must begin with gratitude for whatever joys we have experienced in life, a clear understanding that it is our fortune to have had such a hospitable world to live in, and an acceptance of the need to leave all that – in the not very distant future for us old people.
    .
    A serene article brought it home to me recently:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-philosopher-emperor/
    .
    Written by an Old Boy of the Gurutalawa School, about ten years older than me. Many readers were flabbergasted at my comment about the swan (including MyView, who had been Prof. Sarvan’s class-mate, out of contact for sixty years, until I happily brought them into email contact.)
    .
    However, I had a brief thanking email from the Professor. I had rightly understood what he was saying.

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